Men suffering from “Doctoritis”

photo: getty images

Don't get lost in the crowd!

June is Men’s Health Awareness Month.  So, who needs to be made aware of the important health issues facing men?  It looks like the men themselves.

The Columbus Dispatch recently ran an interesting story about how often men seek out health care, both when they are sick and when they aren’t.  In a 2007 survey, more than half of the men interviewed had not seen their doctor within the past year and almost a third said that they will endlessly delay going to the doctor when they have health concerns.  Ironically, nearly all of these men felt that they were in good to excellent health.  How would they know!?  Are men delusional, or just wimps when it comes to seeing a doctor?

In fact, it goes deeper than that.  Men can view illness or injury as a sign of weakness or a threat to their masculinity.  Many men thrive on the sense that others are dependent on them for security and protection, and refuse to allow their human frailty to get in the way.  Male college students often view themselves as invulnerable to the usual slings and arrows of life and fail to do simple things that can protect them, such as wear a coat in the winter or a condom in bed. 

Also, the last time most men were told they had to see a doctor was when they went out for the baseball team in high school.  On the other hand, women are encouraged to see their doctor regularly throughout their entire lives for pelvic exams, breast exams, pap smears, and later on, mammograms and bone density tests. 

There’s no need to avoid us, guys.  There are few simple and (relatively) painless things you can do to stay healthy, and we can help you out with some of them.

  • Get your blood pressure checked regularly
  • Make sure your immunizations are up-to-date
  • Get screened for depression, elevated cholesterol, and STD’s if you have risk factors
  • Don’t smoke
  • Exercise
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Check out Men: Stay Healthy at Any Age for more details.  And remember – you’re only being weak if you DON’T take care of yourself!! 

Gretchen Koontz, RT
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

Roger Miller, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University